A fantastic flair bartending competition and the first WFA Grand Slam, Olybet Flairmania in Riga, Latvia, lived up to the high standards it sets itself for another year. With fantastic television production, professional commentary, and some of the Worlds best flair bartenders fighting it out in front of a packed audience.
Congratulations to the Flairmania 2018 Champion, Marek Posluszny who came through to capitalise on his success at the end of 2017 and take the first WFA Grand Slam of 2018. In a close second place was Alexander Shtifanov and in third place was the Flairmania Champion from 2017 Deniss Trifanovs.
Fourth, fifth and sixth place went to Luca Valentin, Giorgio Chiarello, and Nico Valimaki respectively – all of which were awarded cash prizes and a WFA Purple Grade. Congratulations also go to Marek for winning Best Cocktail, Ilona Turintseva for winning Super Girl, Dario Di Carlantonio for taking the Big Ass Move Award and Romans Kovalenoks for the Monin Special Prize.
Here is how the WFA Grand Slam leaderboard looks after the first event of this years tournament:
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Tom Dyer’s thoughts and memorable moments from Flairmania 2018
“This was the 8th Flairmania and the 3rd time I had the pleasure of judging at this event. Being the 1st WFA Grand Slam of the year we are always expecting to see a lot of fresh stuff, fresh moves, routines. With the new scoring system in play as well, there were no deductions for drops, breakages or spillages so there was certainly an air of uncertainty as people weren’t quite sure what to expect. The weighting of the scoring system had also been slightly changed this year, with scores weighted more towards originality, choreography and of course the quality of the cocktail – so it was all to play for!”
“Myself and the other judges were very happy to see how the scoring system worked out at this years Flairmania, sure it was a little harder to judge as having the deductions there would often make the decision for you in terms of who placed where – but we no longer had this to help us. With this new scoring system we didn’t want to see it raining tins on stage and many of the competitors, previous scoring systems have been preparing competitors to try and make cleaner routines. That being said, it was nice to see people not worrying so much about drops as they did before, sometimes trying to save a drop can look sloppy and less impressive than if you just let the bottle drop and carry on with the performance, so it was good to see less of that as a result of this new system”.
“It was interesting to see competitors adjusting their routines to the new scoring system and as a result they placed higher than those who did not”.
On the winner…
“Although Marek’s performance wasn’t my favourite of this years competitors at Flairmania, he was the clear winner. Myself, Jay and Timppa were all in agreement. When Marek hits his routine he is very, very hard to beat. He had clearly read the rules and built a very smart and well choreographed routine around the scoring system. His routine reflected a great show with superb originality, when Marek is on the type of form he was at Flairmania he is a machine. Everything was controlled and on point, he is the perfect person to watch if you are looking to understand how to nail a flair bartending competition. He scored the highest for originality, relevance, his cocktail was the best – so when you throw that all together it is easy to see why he won. Hats off to him”.
“Giorgio’s performance was a great moment for me and probably my favourite of the day. Giorgio has been fighting for the top spots in the international flair bartending competitions for a while now and getting knocked back. We always expect to see him up there and challenging because he is a very talented flair bartender and this Flairmania he certainly elevated himself from a Pro to a Super-Pro, occupying the same space as the likes of Marek, Deniss, Shtifa, Luca and more.
His routine was exceptional, he nailed it. It had confidence, power, high energy and showmanship. Just talking about it is giving me goosebumps, it was relentless. It was great to see his new moves one after the other, non stop. You would be cheering one new move and before you had a chance he would hit you with another! The routine was well choreographed, to the music and his flair is of such a high speed that it would give Alexander Shtifanov a run for his money. However neither of them are anywhere close to Neil Lowrey from back in the day. Unfortunately this time around it was his cocktail that let him down a bit, but with a better cocktail Giorgio could have been looking at a first place finish…”
“It was also great to see Alibeck and Flavius make it into the finals for Flairmania this year. Alibeck is a consummate performer and you know he is always going to put on a good show and we weren’t disappointed this year – his original move where he lands the tin on his head and then the bottle in the tin is not only highly risky but also very impressive. Flavius pulled out some more great originality as we have come to expect from him. I particularly enjoyed his move with the four bottles and one shaker where he would catch the shaker in between the bottles in his hands”
“Ilona has also stepped up here level of flair this year, she has great style in her flair and it was very good to see her moving in the right direction regarding her competition flair bartending. Overall we saw a great selection of people really step up their game for 2018, the qualification heats were really well fought and many more people were starting to look a lot more professional with their flair, acting on the new rules and regulations and changing their styles accordingly. Here’s to more of the same in 2018!”